The Ohio STEM Learning Network has its origins in two entities – Battelle and the Ohio Business Roundtable – that joined hands with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the State of Ohio and dozens of other partners and stakeholders to create the nation’s first-ever statewide network for STEM education.
In 2007, Governor Ted Strickland signed H.B.119, which allocated an unprecedented $13 million to establish STEM schools and programs in Ohio. Inspired by the governor’s support, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a $12 million grant to create a sophisticated, yet elegantly simple network of STEM hubs, hosts, platform schools and programs to infuse STEM literacy and disseminate knowledge throughout the state.
In January of 2008, the Ohio Business Roundtable, Battelle and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined with the governor and state legislators on Metro’s campus to announce the creation of OSLN.
The Gates’ award, combined with Battelle’s contribution of $17 million, resulted in the development of seven hubs, seven training centers and has assisted in the design, development and success of more than 20 schools in Ohio. Additionally, this investment positioned Ohio and OSLN to be the top-of-mind resource for states interested in starting their own state STEM network.
Since 2008, OSLN has collaborated with more than 16 states to develop and expand the STEM activities in each respective state through STEMx. The most prominent example of OSLN’s assistance can be found in the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, which is managed by Battelle and modeled after OSLN. As a testament to the success of the OSLN design, TSIN has achieved a high level of success at an accelerated rate, and – with a start-up cost of less than $15.5 million – for nearly half the price of its Ohio template.